Forensic Science Subject Guide | Postgraduate Search (2023)

If you’re considering applying for a postgraduate degree in forensic science, you’ll find this article a great source of useful information and advice around your potential studies. A forensic science course is the perfect way to prepare for a career in forensic science, which is the study of scientific methods used to investigate crime. You might be a science or law graduate looking to specialise towards scientific roles in the justice system, preparing for a range of forensic science jobs.

Many UK universities offer postgraduate degrees in the forensic sciences, so it’s beneficial to learn as much as possible about your options and what will be the best choice for you.

Read on to find out everything you need to know about forensic science courses, why you should do one, the entry requirements, and where you could study.


  • Why do a forensic science degree?
  • What qualifications can you get?
  • What jobs can you do with a forensic science degree?
  • What are the forensic science degree entry requirements?
  • What forensic science courses are there?
  • What topics does a forensic science degree cover?
  • What do you learn in a forensic science degree?
  • How will you be taught and assessed?
  • How long is a forensic science degree?
  • Where can you study forensic science?
  • What similar subjects are there to forensic science?

Why do a forensic science degree?

Forensic science is centred on the use of scientific techniques and principles during the investigation of crime. You’ll apply your technical abilities in the service of the justice system, collecting and analysing evidence to support legal cases. It’s a fascinating and demanding career path, where you may find yourself in challenging circumstances but able to make a big difference to people’s lives.

By studying a forensic science degree at postgraduate level you’ll develop a valuable set of highly transferable skills, as well as specialist knowledge that will prepare you for your forensic science career. Many people want to study forensic science to help protect society and for the pleasure of scientific investigation.

What qualifications can you get?

There are several types of postgraduate forensic science degrees, each of which may suit you best depending on your level of expertise and study objectives.

MSc qualifications in forensic science are some of the most common, providing a thorough taught programme of study that will equip you with the key knowledge and skills required of professionals in forensic science.

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It’s also possible to undertake a research degree at master’s level, the MRes. This is an opportunity to conduct an independent research project on a topic you’re interested in, while building an advanced skill base in research techniques.

Doctoral level research qualifications are also possible, with MPhil and PhD degrees available to those looking to become an expert in the field of forensic science. Through these courses, you’ll train to be a professional researcher in the field, producing impactful new knowledge and broadening the horizons of forensic science.

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What jobs can you do with a forensic science degree?

Forensic science jobs range from academic and lab-based, science heavy roles to justice-focused careers that will take you into the field or the courtroom.

As a forensic scientist you might work with a police or justice department, involved in the collection of evidence from crime scenes, analysing it for clues, or preserving it for later use. Early in your career you may work as a forensic lab technician before moving on to more senior roles.

You might be a forensic research scientist, developing new theories and techniques to help professionals in the sector improve their performance.

Your knowledge and skillset will also make you suitable for other analytical science or forensic intelligence roles, as well as related jobs like toxicologist.

You could also choose to become a crime scene investigator or police officer, bringing your unique knowledge and skills into the field.

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You might choose to become a teacher in forensic science after some time, passing on your expertise to the next generation of scientists and researchers.

What are the forensic science degree entry requirements?

As an applicant for master’s level forensic science degree courses, you’ll typically be asked to show achievement of a 2:2 at undergraduate honours level, or above. This will be in a relevant subject, such as chemistry or biology.

To get a place on an MPhil or PhD course in forensic science, you’ll often be asked for a minimum 2:1 at undergraduate level in addition to a master’s degree in a relevant area.

Being able to show equivalent knowledge, skills or research experience through professional or other subject qualifications may be considered on a case by case basis.

What forensic science courses are there?

There are various postgraduate forensic science courses to choose from, with some placing a focus on a particular niche within the field. You can expect to find postgraduate courses at master’s or doctorate levels, such as:

  • MSc Forensic Science
  • MSc Crime and Forensic Science
  • MSc Forensic Science (Analysis/Toxicology)
  • MRes Forensic Science
  • PhD Forensic Science

What topics does a forensic science degree cover?

Each forensic science degree will have a unique blend of modules, including compulsory or optional units that allow you to tailor your studies. Some topic examples include:

  • Practices and procedures in forensic science
  • Forensic genetics
  • Forensic toxicology and drugs of abuse
  • The expert witness in the legal process
  • Crime scene science

What do you learn in a forensic science degree?

Forensic science courses are typically designed around building a strong blend of technical, practical and personal skills.

You’ll become competent in a range of scientific methods and forensic techniques, from fire mapping to blood spatter analysis, DNA evidence analysis, human anatomy, statistics, and toxicology.

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In addition to scientific knowledge and skills, you’ll gain expertise in the justice system—from crime scene investigation to criminal justice and courtroom procedures, in addition to crime prevention and criminology.

You’ll also gain a number of transferable skills including critical thinking, problem solving and communication. Other practical skills include data analysis, report writing, mathematics, and giving presentations.

Depending on your course, you may also develop advanced research skills and experience in developing, managing and publishing long-term research projects.

How will you be taught and assessed?

Forensic science courses are usually taught through a combination of lectures, laboratory sessions, seminars and tutor discussions, presentations and projects, in addition to mock courtroom activity.

You’ll probably be assessed via the evaluation of coursework such as essays, incident analyses, reports or presentations, as well as exams that may be written or practical in nature.

A dissertation or research project will be a likely component of your postgraduate forensic science degree, more so for research master’s or doctoral research students.

How long is a forensic science degree?

A forensic science master’s degree, whether taught or research, will typically be one year in length if studying full time. If you’re a part-time student, it’ll be up to two years.

An MPhil qualification will usually take two years to complete full-time, while a PhD qualification will take anywhere from two to four years to finish. You can expect to double these timeframes if you’re studying part-time at doctoral level.

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Where can you study forensic science?

There are around 20 different universities where you can study forensic science at postgraduate level in the UK. You can use our course and university search tools to identify the perfect course or institution for your goals.

Some of the leading universities to study forensic science at include:

  • University of Dundee
  • University of Strathclyde
  • University of Kent
  • Nottingham Trent University
  • University of Greenwich

What similar subjects are there to forensic science?

You might consider a number of other subjects alongside a forensic science degree, depending on the type of career you’re looking to pursue. Relevant subjects include:

  • Criminology
  • Biomedical sciences
  • Medicine
  • Chemistry
  • Psychology

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What are the subjects in forensic science? ›

Forensic Science is an interdisciplinary branch of science that is the perfect amalgamation of the essence of all the science subjects i.e. chemistry, biology, physics and mathematics.

Which subject is best for forensic science? ›

It is better to choose the Science stream, which includes subjects like Physics, Chemistry, Biology and Mathematics, to take Forensic Science.

What are the 6 branches of forensics? ›

Different divisions and their functional activities
  • Biology / Serology Division.
  • Chemistry Division.
  • Toxicology Division.
  • Physics/ Ballistics Division.
  • Documents Division.
  • Cyber Forensic Division. Undertakes examination of: ...
  • Polygraph Division (Proposed for establishment) • ...
  • District Mobile Laboratory.
Aug 1, 2022

Is studying forensic hard? ›

Is forensic science hard to study? Studying forensic science will be tough as there are many skills you need to succeed such as strong problem solving. It is a degree that will keep you on your toes and offer a welcome challenge.

Is forensics a lot of math? ›

Like many scientific tests and experiments, forensic investigation often requires mathematic calculations. Take a wide range of college-level math courses, including calculus, statistics, and laboratory measurements and techniques.

Is forensic a good career? ›

Yes career in forensic science is one of the best choice one can make. You can get jobs in various governments & private sectors . The study will improve your skills and knowledge. After completing your degree, you can open your own forensic practice & forensic service offices.

Is forensic science a doctor? ›

Doctor of Medicine in Forensic Medicine, also known as MD (Forensic Medicine) is a three-year postgraduate programme that candidates can pursue after completing MBBS. Forensic Medicine is the branch of medical science dealing with the application of scientific principles for crime investigation.

Which country is best for forensic science? ›

Best Forensic Science universities and graduate schools
  • George Washington University, in the US.
  • University of Dundee, in the UK.
  • University of Amsterdam, in the Netherlands.
  • Uppsala University, in Sweden.
  • The Bonn-Rhine-Sieg University of Applied Sciences, in Germany.
Nov 17, 2022

What are the 3 main jobs of a forensic scientist? ›

What Forensic Science Technicians Do About this section
  • Analyze crime scenes to determine what evidence should be collected and how.
  • Take photographs of the crime scene and evidence.
  • Make sketches of the crime scene.
  • Record observations and findings, such as the location and position of evidence.
Sep 8, 2022

What are the 3 types of forensic science? ›

The work of a forensic scientist falls into three broad groups: field (collecting the evidence), laboratory and medical (analysing the evidence).

What are the 3 main skills all forensic scientists must possess? ›

To become a Forensic Scientist, you'll need:
  • to be accurate, methodical and thorough in your investigations.
  • patience, attention to detail and problem-solving skills.
  • the ability to explain your findings clearly in court, to people like Lawyers and jurors.
  • report-writing skills.

Is forensics part of police? ›

These professionals are also known as forensic scientists or crime scene investigators. They are all sworn police officers who have been through academy training. And their primary duties are helping other police officers search crime scenes for clues and evidence.

What are the 4 types of forensic analysis? ›

Traditional forensic analysis methods include the following: Chromatography, spectroscopy, hair and fiber analysis, and serology (such as DNA examination)

Is forensic job stressful? ›

Working as a forensic scientist can often be stressful. Often, the first 48 hours after a crime are critical, making for working conditions under tight deadlines. Additionally, you may be exposed to violent crime scenes or images.

Do forensic scientists work a lot? ›

Forensic science technicians may have to work outside in all types of weather, spend many hours in laboratories and offices, or do some combination of both. They often work with specialists and other law enforcement personnel.

Do you need to be smart to be a forensic scientist? ›

As a forensic scientist, you will need to demonstrate the ability to use your critical thinking skills to obtain the necessary information, investigate and conduct experiments to assist in forensic cases.

Is forensic science a lot of chemistry? ›

On an average day, forensic chemists apply knowledge from diverse disciplines such as chemistry, biology, materials science, and genetics to analyze evidence found at crime scenes or in the bodies of crime suspects. Forensic chemists often don't know the nature of the sample before they analyze it.

Can I do forensic science without chemistry? ›

Yes, you'll need an A-level (or equivalent) in chemistry as forensic scientists need a degree in chemistry, analytical chemistry or biology. This course provides a firm grounding in the laboratory techniques and analytical skills required.

Can I become a forensic scientist without Maths? ›

Yes you can study forensic science without maths if you have biology.

Why am I interested in forensic science? ›

Why study forensic science? If you've ever wanted to help solve crimes and other puzzles through scientific means, forensic science is the right program for you. Forensic science is the application of scientific methods and processes to matters that involve crime or the public.

Is becoming a forensic scientist easy? ›

How hard is it to get a forensic scientist job? Forensic science is a very competitive field, so finding a job can be difficult. Arming yourself with higher education and certifications can help tremendously.

How many years is forensic science? ›

A forensic science degree takes either two or four years to complete and prepares graduates for various careers. Specific outcomes depend on the chosen concentration. Potential concentrations include forensic anthropology, digital forensics, and forensic toxicology.

What is a forensic doctor called? ›

About Forensic Pathologist

A forensic pathologist is an expert who has the specialized knowledge to determine the cause of death, injury and wound of a person. They are involved with cases that involve alleged causes of death or injury.

Is forensic science under biology? ›

Forensic Biology is the application of concepts and procedures used in the biological sciences, typically in a medico-legal context. Forensic biologists analyze cellular and tissue samples, as well as physiological fluids that are relevant to a legal investigation.

How do I get a job in forensics? ›

An aspirant can pursue his/her specialization course in the fields like Forensic Biology, Forensic Serology, Forensic Chemistry, Forensic Toxicology, Forensic Ballistics, Forensic Entomology, Forensic Botany etc. in the Forensic science field. It's also possible to become a Forensic Scientist with an MBBS background.

Does forensic science have a future? ›

Forensic science has a promising future as new methods, technologies, and scientific advancements create new possibilities that have not yet been imagined.

Is forensic in demand? ›

South Africa has a very high crime rate. This means that the demand for professionals to help solve these crimes is high too. And when combined with all the advances being made in science, it makes forensic science a good career option in South Africa. There are also many different types of forensics.

Do Forensic scientists make a lot of money? ›

The salaries of Forensic Scientists in the US range from $13,429 to $357,074 , with a median salary of $65,075 . The middle 57% of Forensic Scientists makes between $65,077 and $162,309, with the top 86% making $357,074.

Would I be a good Forensic Scientist? ›

A very good forensic scientist must have the characteristic of being highly analytical, as analyzing and solving complex problems is the core aspect of his job. Forensic scientists use scientific methodology and testing of evidence to provide law enforcement officials with crucial information on cases.

Do forensics carry guns? ›

Some forensic psychologists carry firearms, some do not. Forensic psychologists, doing work in the field, will generally tend to carry firearms, provided that they are in a high-crime region, are conscious about their personal safety, or a combination of both.

What are the 10 branches of forensic science? ›

1. Forensic Pathology
  • Forensic Pathology. ...
  • Clinical Forensic Medicine. ...
  • Forensic Toxicology. ...
  • Forensic Serology. ...
  • Forensic Psychiatry. ...
  • Forensic Anthropology.
Apr 5, 2016

Do forensic scientists go to crime scenes? ›

Unlike crime scene investigators, forensic scientists do not visit the crime scene. Instead, they work in a lab environment, examining and analyzing evidence provided by investigators to help law enforcement agencies pursue justice.

Who uses forensic science? ›

Forensic science is a critical element of the criminal justice system. Forensic scientists examine and analyze evidence from crime scenes and elsewhere to develop objective findings that can assist in the investigation and prosecution of perpetrators of crime or absolve an innocent person from suspicion.

What is the highest degree in forensic science? ›

Forensic Science Doctoral Degrees

Earning a PhD is an option for forensic science professionals who wish to seek promotion to advanced leadership positions, teach at the college level, or go into research. A doctorate degree in forensic science can typically be completed through four to five years of study.

Is cyber forensics hard? ›

Computer forensics can be a stressful field, as you often need to find information quickly for a criminal investigation and criminals can be highly skilled at technology.

Do you need physics for forensic science? ›

Forensic science draws upon a variety of scientific disciplines, including biology, physics and chemistry.

What are the 5 functions of a forensic scientist? ›

Forensic Scientist Responsibilities:

Identifying and collecting physical evidence, and making notes. Attending autopsies to make observations, gather evidence, and take photographs. Making crime scene sketches. Processing evidence in the laboratory.

Is forensics a chemistry or biology? ›

Forensic science is a field that includes both forensic biology and forensic chemistry. They both work with samples taken from crime scenes, victims, and potential suspects. They also use similar lab equipment to identify and analyze compounds.

Is forensic a government job? ›

and private sector forensic science jobs. The forensic scientist can earn around INR 3.6 to 12 lakh per annum in India. The forensic scientist works in government and private hospitals, crime laboratories, law enforcement and federal agencies.

Does FBI do forensics? ›

The FBI Laboratory offers assistance with forensics to law enforcement partners. The resources on this page are for law enforcement. For general information about the FBI Laboratory, visit the FBI's Science and Technology page.

What are the 2 roles of a forensic scientist? ›

Work as a forensic scientist can involve: collecting trace evidence from scenes of crime or accidents and recording findings. analysing samples such as hair, body fluids, glass, paint and drugs in the laboratory.

How do I prepare for a forensic science career? ›

Steps to a Career in Forensic Science
  1. Earn an associate degree. ...
  2. Earn a bachelor's degree. ...
  3. Narrow down a specialty. ...
  4. Earn the master's or doctorate (if applicable) ...
  5. Complete degree requirements (if applicable) ...
  6. Engage in on-the-job training. ...
  7. Earn credentials or certification. ...
  8. Latest Posts.
Nov 10, 2021

What are 5 examples of forensic evidence? ›

6 Major Types Of Forensics/ CSI Evidence Presented At Trial
  • Finger Print Analysis. Along with DNA, fingerprints are a main identifier for who we are. ...
  • Forensic DNA Analysis. ...
  • Handwriting Exemplars. ...
  • Blood Splatter Analysis. ...
  • Forensic Pathology. ...
  • Ballistics.
Apr 3, 2020

What are the 7s in order forensics science? ›

The basic crime scene procedures are physical evidence recognition, documentation, proper collection, packaging, preser- vation, and, finally, scene reconstruction.

Is there maths in forensic science? ›

in Forensic Sciences The basic criterion of eligibility needed to be met for admission to the course is a Higher Secondary (10+2) or equivalent qualification from a recognised educational Board, with Physics, Chemistry and Biology and/ or Math as main subjects and a minimum aggregate score of 55%.

Is maths required for forensic science? ›

Yes you can study forensic science without maths if you have biology.

Is forensic biology hard? ›

The course is one of the most difficult in the forensic degree program because it requires a thorough knowledge of how DNA works, how to screen for biological evidence for attribution at a crime scene, the various methods used to analyze DNA, and the method in which forensic DNA testimony is delivered for depositions ...

Do you need physics for forensics? ›

Forensic science draws upon a variety of scientific disciplines, including biology, physics and chemistry.

Is there physics in forensics? ›

Reconstruction of crime scene is a vital application of Physics in forensic science as the cases are belongs to accidents, suicide or homicide, fall of a body from height, projectile motion of a firearm, glass penetration of speedy stone, bullet or tool case be analyzed using physics [3].

What is the age limit for forensic science? ›

B.Sc Forensic Science Course Details
AgeMinimum age limit is 18 years
Minimum Percentage50% in 10+2 from a recognised board in India
Average FeesINR 30,000 - 2.5 LPA
Similar Options of StudyM.Sc [Forensic Science]
4 more rows

Is BSc forensic easy? ›

Forensic Science is a multidisciplinary subject, it encompasses various fields of Science such as chemistry, biology, physics, geology, psychology, social Science, engineering, etc. Nothing is easy or difficult, what matters is hard work.

What grades are needed for forensics? ›

Entry requirements
  • BTEC National: Extended Diploma in Applied Science.
  • A level and BTEC National: Extended Certificate in Applied Science and 32 Points from science related subjects at A-level.
  • International Baccalaureate: requiring Higher Level Science grade 5 and Standard Level English grade 4.

Why should I study forensic science? ›

Why study forensic science? If you've ever wanted to help solve crimes and other puzzles through scientific means, forensic science is the right program for you. Forensic science is the application of scientific methods and processes to matters that involve crime or the public.

How do I start a career in Forensics? ›

Forensic science technicians typically need at least a bachelor's degree in a field such as physical science, biology, or forensic science. Forensic science programs may specialize in a specific area of study, such as toxicology, pathology, or DNA.

Is forensic science in demand? ›

The need for professionals in Forensic Science is high in demand as the crime rate is only growing and there are numerous cases which require thorough research work and analysis. The government, private organisations need professionals who can help assist them in conducting Forensic analysis and help them solve crimes.


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